The six victims of a horror head-on collision did not ‘stand a chance’ because their car went up in ‘one big ball of fire’, according to a witness.
A Mitsubishi Pajero four-wheel drive carrying with six people – including a child – crashed into a road train carrying cars and trailers of mangoes on the Stuart Highway near Pine Creek, a small town in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory, just after 4pm on Friday.
The Mitsubishi was engulfed in flames, with Territory Expeditions tour driver Daniel Hall spotting the plume of back smoke several kilometres down the highway, prompting him to rush to the scene.
Police have confirmed that six people including a young child are dead after a four-wheel-drive crashed into a road train on Friday (pictured, the scene of the crash)
Mr Hall told NT News that within minutes of the crash other drivers had stopped to coordinate traffic and provide first aid to the driver of the Shaw’s road train.
But no one was able to save those inside the Mitsubishi.
‘Whoever was in that car did not stand a chance at survival or being rescued in any way shape or form,’ Mr Hall said.
‘The entire car was one big ball of fire.
‘Those people, they didn’t stand a chance.’
Two people in the trick managed to escape and were treated for minor injuries at Royal Darwin Hospital.
Mr Hall said one of the survivors had ‘cuts and bruises all over him’ and a look of ‘total devastation’ in his eyes.
‘As his road train burnt … he had that look on his face that he got away with his life by the skin of his teeth,’ he said.
Detectives remained at the scene on Saturday, with NT Police saying it may be more than a week before those killed can be identified because of the ferocity of the blaze.
‘Police, fire and (paramedics) were met with a terrible scene and first tried to save those that could be,’ Superintendent Daniel Shean said told the ABC.
A Mitsubishi Pajero 4WD with six people inside crashed into the road train before both vehicles caught on fire on the Stuart Highway near Pine Creek, a small town in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory (pictured, police at the scene of the crash)
Superintendent Shean confirmed one of the victims from the crash was a very young child.
‘The driver and passenger of the truck were medevaced to hospital, there was an infant child that was found deceased from the (four-wheel drive), and there were a number of people in the (four-wheel drive) also deceased,’ he said.
He noted that the fire that started following the collision caused ‘irreparable damage’ to the four-wheel-drive ‘and the persons inside’.
Detectives are working to identify the victims but their identities may not be confirmed for at least a week, according to police.
The driver and passenger of the road train are in Royal Darwin Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Their truck was towing three trailers including two filled with mangoes.
‘I have been to a number of serious crashes in my career and this one is up there in terms of the seriousness of the crash, where we’ve got a vehicle that’s gone head-on into a truck,’ Superintendent Shean added.
The Major Crash Investigation Unit will investigate whether a range of factors including speed and attention contributed to the incident.
NT Police remained at the scene on Friday and set up diversions for light vehicles along the Stuart Highway.
It resulted in significant delays for traffic, with motorists urged to avoid the area.
Detective Senior Sergeant Brendan Lindner urged anyone who was travelling in the area between 2.30pm and 4.45pm on Friday with dash-cam footage to contact police.
‘This incident has, and will, impact a large number in the community and all efforts are underway to identify and recover the deceased and to notify their next of kin,’ he said.
Anyone with information on the identity and movements of the four-wheel-drive occupants are also urged to contact police.